Councillor Barry Longland.
Councillor Barry Longland. Blainey Woodham

Labor frontbencher urges Longland not to support Polglase

POLITICAL pressure is mounting on Cr Barry Longland ahead of tonight's annual Tweed Shire Council mayoral election with the issue even raised in State Parliament.

Labor's Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord has urged Cr Longland to oppose the "pro-development National Party grouping" in the election, where conservative Cr Warren Polglase is expected to stand for mayor. 

In a statement issued to the media today, Mr Secord urged Mr Longland "not to hand over control of Tweed Shire to the white shoe brigade".

"Voting with them in the mayoral election would betray those who elected Mr Longland to council," Mr Secord said.

Cr Longland told the Tweed Daily News there will be further talks with fellow councillor Katie Milne and current mayor Gary Bagnall ahead of the vote. He would not rule out backing Greens Cr Milne.

"I've worked with my colleagues to achieve an outcome which I hope goes through, we have to wait and see who the nominees are.

"I've been trying hard to reach a point where you can find agreement and I think that's happened.

"I don't want to reveal the content so far."

Cr Longland would not rule out voting for Cr Milne.

"I've always supported Katie. At councillor elections she has quite a significant vote and I would take that into account. She is an experienced councillor.

"Let's wait to see if she is a nominee."

He said political pressure from the Labor party would not sway his vote.

"I was surprised to see that mentioned in parliament, one wonders who would be behind that.

"Walt (Secord) has never spoken to me about it.

"I think the timing of this speech, and the fact it was in parliament, was intended to put pressure on me, but I've never been pressured by politics, I always make decisions based on merit.

"I've never had any associations with the Labor Party."

Addressing parliament yesterday, Mr Secord said he was concerned if Cr Polglase was elected the construction of Byrrill Creek Dam would go ahead. State Labor has had a long-standing opposition to the dam. 

"I expect Tweed Shire Council to again push for Byrrill Creek dam, if former Mayor Barry Longland betrays the local residents and switches to The Nationals in the mayoral vote tomorrow night in the Tweed Shire."  

Mr Secord claimed in a later statement the construction of the dam will open the region to developers.    

"This has been a scheme of the North Coast white shoe brigade local property developers and their mates who, for the past 20 years, have dreamed of Byrrill Creek dam so they can cram thousands more units and houses into the far North Coast," he said.

"Barry Longland has the future of the Tweed Shire in his hands."

"It was a bit disingenuous to weigh into it," Cr Longland said, in response.

"I was in favour of raising the wall in the Clarrie Hall Dam to meet our water needs into 2050."

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